The Supreme Court Friday granted time to the Tamil Nadu government to respond to the amended plea of jailed YouTuber Manish Kashyap against whom the stringent National Security Act (NSA) has been invoked for allegedly circulating fake videos of migrant labourers being attacked in the southern state.
A bench of Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud and Justice P S Narasimha took note of the request by lawyer Amit Anand Tiwari, appearing for the state government, for time to respond to the petition filed by Kashyap, a Bihar resident who is currently lodged in Madurai Central Prison in the case.
Senior advocate Maninder Singh, representing Kashyap, sought clubbing of all the FIRs lodged against the YouTuber in West Bengal and their transfer to Bihar in the interest of justice.
He alleged the state government invoked NSA against Kashyap, who is in jail for over a month now, during the pendency of his petition in the top court and this led him to amend the plea.
The bench granted an opportunity to Tiwari to file a fresh response to the amended plea and fixed the case for hearing on May 8.
The top court had on April 21 directed the state government not to shift Kashyap from the Madurai Central Prison. It had issued a notice to Tamil Nadu and Bihar governments on Kashyap’s plea challenging his detention under the National Security Act.
“Apart from the relief sought under Article 32, the petitioner seeks to challenge the detention order under National Security Act (NSA). The petitioner is allowed to amend the plea. Issue notice on amended prayers.
“We direct that the petitioner be not moved from the Central Prison Madurai,” the bench had said.
The matter was then posted for hearing on Friday.
When Kashyap’s counsel spoke about invocation of the NSA, the bench had quipped :”NSA against him? Why this vengeance against this man?”
The arrested Youtuber also faces six FIRs in Tamil Nadu and three in Bihar. The top court had on April 11 issued notice to the Centre, the Tamil Nadu and Bihar governments on Kashyap’s plea seeking clubbing of the FIRs lodged against him.
Kashyap had on April 5 appeared before the Madurai district court which ordered that he be remanded in judicial custody for 15 days, following which he was sent to the Madurai central prison.
In his plea filed in the apex court, the petitioner had sought clubbing of all the FIRs registered against him in Tamil Nadu with those lodged in Bihar.
The petition also said the issue of alleged violence in Tamil Nadu against migrant labourers from Bihar was widely reported in the media, and the petitioner, since March 1, was raising his voice against it by making videos on social media platforms and writing content on Twitter.